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This handy webcam has a built-in ring light, and it's 50% off right now

The Razer Kiyo webcam has been serving me well for a long time and, at a highly discounted price, it could do the same for you.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Razor Kiyo webcam.

The Kiyo built-in ring light makes it easy to get quality video for Zoom meetings anywhere.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I don't have to deal with Zoom meetings all that often but when I do have to open Zoom and have the occasional meeting, I skip over my MacBook Pro and Android phone and turn my eyes directly to my Razor Kiyo webcam. I've had this device for a few years now but it's still available and (currently) selling for $48.71 on Amazon (that's a 51% savings). 

It's worth it.

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Yes, there are better webcams on the market, those that can stream 4k video, offer more impressive mic arrays and even include some effects that can be applied. But the Razor Kiyo has one little trick up its sleeve that most other webcams don't…a built-in ring light. 

View at Amazon

That little light (which can be adjusted for less or more intensity by turning the outside housing), is capable of lighting me just fine for meetings. Sometimes I'll enhance the lighting with another ring light (which is connected to the boom stand I use) but the built-in light is surprisingly bright. That feature alone sold me on the Kiyo and I haven't regretted it since I purchased the device.

The specs

Before I dive further into my take on this webcam, let's view the specs, which look like this:

  • Full HD Resolution at 720p 60 FPS/1080p 30 FPS
  • Audio Codec: 16 bit 48 KHz
  • Built-In ring light features a 5600K daylight-balanced light with adjustable brightness
  • Compact, folding design makes it easier to take it on the go
  • Streamlabs certified for popular platforms such as OBS, XSplit, Twitch, YouTube, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype
  • Supported operating systems: Linux and Windows
  • Includes threaded standard mounting option or you can clamp it to a laptop lid
The mount plate of the Razor Kiyo webcam.

You can either screw the Kiyo to a stand or clamp it to your laptop.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The only caveat to the Kiyo is that I've yet to get it to work on MacOS. It works on Linux out of the box and did the same for my editor on Windows. 

The performance

The thing about webcams is that the performance isn't only affected by the quality of the hardware. You also have to take into consideration your network speed, the operating system it's used with, the speed of others in your meeting and their operating system. In other words, you can shell out the cash for the best webcam on the market and still wind up with bad results if OSes or network speeds aren't up to the task.

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In all the years I've been using the Kiyo, I've not had one person complain about the quality of either the video or the mics. In fact, on the rare occasion that I wind up using my MacBook Pro's built-in webcam (instead of my Kiyo on my default Linux desktop), I have had complaints about the quality.

Part of that is lighting (which is key for anything related to video). The MacBook Pro webcam is notoriously bad in low-light conditions. With the Kiyo and its ring light, there's no such thing as low-light conditions. Turn it on and crank the ring light to full and you're good to go. That feature alone is worth the price of entry. In fact, I often get compliments on the quality of my video when using the Kiyo. 

Who is this webcam for?

The Razor Kiyo webcam isn't the best bet for those looking for 4k video streaming. But if you're more concerned about always having sufficient lighting for Zoom meetings, without having to turn to yet another device (such as an LED panel or secondary ring light), this little camera will do just fine. And at $48 USD, you'd be hard-pressed to find a webcam that includes a ring light for that price.

If you're looking for an improvement over your laptop's built-in camera for Zoom meetings, the Razor Kiyo is a great option.

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